Kitely, finally

After two days of trying, I managed to login to Kitely.  It turned out that there was a bug in their software preventing me from getting in.  I was impressed with their quickness in finding a workaround. Here’s my new world:

My new virtual world
My new virtual world

In case you haven’t heard, Kitely is way to host an OpenSim world in the cloud, at minimal cost.  You can create your own world – the size of a sim in Second Life – or you can download free download free OpenSim Archive files that Kitely will use to automatically generate your new world.  This picture is of the Faerie Castle world. You can download this and other files at

I’ll write more about Kitely after I’ve had some time to play with it.  In the meantime, if you want to try it for yourself, Kitely is offering an allowance of Kitely Credits to get you started. You’ll need a Facebook account to use it.  Eventually they’ll probably offer logins from other sites, but during Kitely’s beta, it’s restricted to Facebook.  You can learn more at their website,

SL Burning Man desert now looks more like the real thing

As much as I love the Burning Man events in Second Life – Burning Life and now Burn 2 – one thing about it has always bothered me: despite dedicated efforts to make the virtual Burning Man as close to the Nevada Burning Man as is feasible, the virtual desert just doesn’t look like the Nevada desert where Burning Man was born.

I’ve never been to Burning Man or Black Rock, but I have camped for years in the Nevada desert only about 40 miles from Black Rock and every time I go to a Second Life burn event, I am bothered by two things.  The cracked mud desert floor in Second Life may  mimic the (usually) dry cracked mud of Black Rock and simulated winds may blow digital dust clouds across the virtual desert floor, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the real Nevada desert isn’t surrounded by endless water as far as the eye can see  and the Nevada desert around Black Rock isn’t flat, and certainly nothing like the flat as a table virtual version.  The real Nevada desert is broken up by long ridges of hills that once were islands in a long-gone vast inland sea.

If you go to the spring burn this weekend, Burnal Equinox, you’ll see a huge change: unlike previous Second Life burn events, now you’ll be surrounded by brown hills much like you’d see in that part of Nevada.  It’s not totally authentic; the hills have the same cracked mud texture as the flat land, something you’d never see in real life.  But at least they are real hills, not flat textures of hills applied to megaprims.  These are honest-to-God off sim hills, and for me, this gives Burnal Equinox a much more real feel than I’ve felt at previous events.

This picture shows my rendition in those new hills at Burnal Equinox of my favorite

Desert Hills surrounding Second Life's Burnal Equinox
Desert Hills surrounding Second Life's Burnal Equinox

moment of camping in the desert;  when the full moon is rising over the hills.  I try always to go at the full moon because that’s when the desert is most beautiful, especially at that magic moment just as the moon is rising over those hills and for a short while, the hills glow like they’ve been painted with fluorescent paint.  I assume it’s all those tiny plants that you don’t see from the distance on hills that appear lifeless, but which have their moment of glory when the full moon rises and for a moment brings them alive.

Burnal Equinox opens in Second Life on this Friday, March 25, 2011 and will run through Sunday.  The event will feature music, dance performances, creative exhibits, and two Lamplighter processions.  It’s brought to you by the same folks who bring you Burn 2, Burning Man in Second Life.

There are several events in particular that you should not miss:

Myst Dancers: This dance group always does an extraordinary performance.  You can see them Friday night at 7pm PT/SLT.

Yman Juran and the ChangHigh Trinity Sisters Fireshow: This is always a visual spectacular.  You can see them on Saturday at 2pm PT/SLT.

The Lamplighters always put on a good show.  Lamplighters are a feature of the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert and they play a similar role in Second Life.  As full discloser, this writer is a member of the Second Life Lamplighters.  There will be two Lamplighter processions at Burnal Equinox: Friday 8pm PT/SLT and Sunday noon PT/SLT.

You can learn more about Burn 2 events at and Second Life members can teleport to the sim by clicking .

Another attempt at hypergrid exploring

Pathfinder Lester (formerly known to Second Life residents as Pathfinder Linden) gave a talk about hypergrid adventuring at yesterday’s VWBPE conference.  As reported in my last post, it’s exciting but still the stuff for pioneers, reminding me more of my early days in virtual worlds in 2003 than of current day Second Life.

A hypergrid teleport gone bad: six avatars merge into one
A hypergrid teleport gone bad: six avatars merge into one

Hypergrid adventuring is jumping between virtual worlds (known as grids).  The picture shows what can happen when the jump goes bad.  In this case, six or seven of us ended up merged into one avatar somewhere at sea.  I did manage a few hypergrid teleports yesterday, but as you can see from this picture, they didn’t always go smoothly!

The analogy I used in my last post was touring in a car a hundred years ago in 1911.   There were no paved roads outside of big cities, no maps, no gas stations, no AAA to rescue you when things went wrong.  If your car got stuck in a muddy bog or ran out of gas or broke down, it was up to you to somehow get it home.  Most people in 1911 preferred the relative comfort and security of a train or horse-drawn carriage for venturing beyond urban limits.  Only pioneers used cars.  Everyone “knew” that cars weren’t practical.  And they weren’t.  But it was those intrepid pioneers whose adventuring led to interstate highways, AAA, and reliable, comfortable cars.

Just like with cars a hundred years ago, hypergrid adventuring isn’t for everyone.  For most people, the best choice is to belong to a few virtual worlds and just log into them separately.  But it’s the intrepid adventurers breaking the ground of the new hypergrid who will lead to the day when you can host your own little virtual world on your own computer but have it linked into the hypergrid of hundreds of other virtual worlds, some big and some small like yours, with avatars able to teleport at will between them.

That’s an exciting prospect.  It’s today’s hypergrid adventurers who will make it happen.  If you enjoy breaking new ground like this, hypergrid adventuring may be for you.

You can learn more at Pathfinder Lester’s Hypergrid Adventurers Club website    Also, CNN Second Life iReporter any1 Gynoid has written a tutorial about hypergrid adventuring:

Hypergrid exploring

After reading Pathfinder’s reply to my last post, I couldn’t resist learning more about the Hypergrid Adventurers Club and about hypergrid exploring.  After being in Second Life’s closed grid for seven years, the realization that I can teleport between worlds is both exhilarating and liberating.

Hoping to learn more, I attended a meeting of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club (  My attempt to teleport there from Osgrid failed and when I logged into the club’s home region in the jokaydiaGRID grid, where I found two other lost souls who were looking for the meeting.

I finally was able to attend by logging directly into Neogrid, so I didn’t actually do a grid hyperjump, and the lag was so bad that I finally ran out of time to explore and logged out, but it was enough to make me want to learn more.

From what I’ve seen so far, hypergrid jumping probably isn’t for people who want the equivalent of jumping into a 2011 model car, switching it on, and driving to your destination.  It might be more like going back in time to 1911,  jumping into a 1911 car (after you’ve cranked it started) and exploring along muddy lanes (there are no paved roads yet) with no maps to guide you and no AAA to rescue you… but for pioneering souls, that can be a lot more fun.

This picture is of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club meeting this morning.

Hypergrid Adventurers Club meet in NeoGrid in March 2011
Hypergrid Adventurers Club meet in NeoGrid in March 2011

Earthquake / tsunami benefit planned in Second Life – how you can help

Radar Magazine in Second Life is planning a month-long benefit event to benefit victims of the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami.  The event will be co-sponsored by the Red Cross.

They are looking for Second Life designers to donate an item to sell or to create a one-of-a-kind item for a runway show planned for March 31.  The item will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and funds will go to the relief fund.  They are also looking for volunteers to work at the event and for donors who want to help out

The dates for the event will be March 16-April 16.  If you would like to participate, contact Ji Nirvana in Second Life.

Other virtual worlds to visit besides Second Life

Second Life may be the 8000 pound gorilla in the virtual worlds universe, but it’s not the only one. There are several dozen worlds for you to choose from, though most are still small and even the largest doesn’t yet come close to matching Second Life’s massive user base.

Comparing worlds by population size is not easy, because of the difficulty in determining how many are actually active users, of determining how many are multiple avatars of a single person, and because not all worlds report population in the same way.

An alternate way of measuring world size is by the number of regions in that world. reports that the dozen largest virtual worlds (Open Sim worlds and Second Life) by region are:

  1. Second Life: 31,552 regions
  2. OSGrid: 5,758 regions
  3. Avination: 925 regions
  4. Virtual Worlds Grid: 819 regions
  5. InWorldz: 816 regions
  6. New World Grid: 612 regions
  7. ScienceSim: 338 regions  (for science researchers and projects)
  8. AlphaTowne: 316 regions
  9. Meta7: 292 regions
  10. NexXtLife: 288 regions
  11. FrancoGrid: 262 regions  (French speaking)
  12. MyOpenGrid: 245 regions

OSGrid is run by the same group that has established the Open Sim platform for hosting virtual worlds.  All the virtual worlds on this list except Second Life are based on it.  It has a feature that will appeal to people like me: the ability to host a region in the world on your own computer, at no cost other than the cost of operating your computer.

Avination has unique feature that I haven’t encountered in other worlds: although when you’re creating your account, it forces you to choose from a list of avatar last names, you can change it to your Second Life avatar name through a two step process in which you first register your Second Life name with Avination and then visit an Avination ATM in Second Life, where you complete the linkage.  Avination appears to also offer the ability to use the ATM for transferring funds between it and Second Life through these ATMs, though I didn’t try it.

InWorlds is the world that people I know personally in Second Life are beginning to migrate to, and it’s the world that most favorably impressed me when I first logged on.

I wasn’t able to open an account in Virtual Worlds Grid.  I tried but wasn’t able to navigate to the account creation page.  Maybe they were having problems today, but it’s the most confusing page I’ve seen in any of the worlds.

The other world where I had a problem was New World Grid.  I got several errors when I tried opening my account, including being told that my password was too short (it was) and that my email address was invalid (it wasn’t).  When I tried reentering the information, it told me that the avatar already existed, so I tried logging and had no problem, despite the too-short password.

However when I tried creating a second avatar, I got the very same errors but this time I wasn’t able to log on with that avatar.  Very confusing!

I use the Imprudence viewer for logging into all these worlds; if a world isn’t listed in the Grids on the Imprudence login page, you can use the Grid Manager to add it.  You can also use other viewers, including Phoenix and Hippo.

Memorial to a dying artist

Last year when artist Peter Vos lay dying of pancreatic cancer, his son created a remarkable memorial for him in Second Life.You can see four of the many works in the exhibit below, and you can read my column about the exhibit and see more pictures at

llustration of Harry Mulish’ “De Aanzoek” 3

The art of distilling weird fragments out of nothing
"Pets" Cover "Haagse Post" may 1970
“Pets” Cover “Haagse Post” may 1970

The Inevitable: White